12 Recipes for Little Chefs in Training

By , Alicia Capetillo
If your kid’s idea of cooking involves a three-step process of opening, toasting and eating a Pop-Tart, then National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day (September 13th) was probably invented with your family in mind. If you don’t already involve your child in cooking, getting him or her started at a young age is a great way to instill healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime (looking at you, college years!). When kids learn to cook healthy meals for themselves, they will likely be less inclined to rely on fast food, delivery or frozen meals as they age. Whether your child is four or fourteen, there is a job he or she can help perform. Little ones can help with washing fresh veggies or scooping ingredients into measuring cups, while older kids can assist with more prep work and even man the stovetop, with supervision, of course.

Cooking together is also great way to bond with your kid and stay connected as family life gets busier and busier. Open with a chat about which recipe you’ll be creating, and by the time you sit down at the dining room table, the conversation will be rolling. Your time spent in the kitchen will not only encourage conversation, but can also be a lesson in following directions, reading and math as you work your way through the recipe’s steps. Plus, you might even introduce your picky eater to new foods!
It’s time to grab your little helpers and get started with one of these 12 tasty, healthy and kid-approved recipes. Bon appetit! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies Tell kids that they’ll get to eat cookies for breakfast if they help, and there’s a pretty good chance they will jump at the chance to make that happen.
Granola Breakfast Bars Show kids the perks of homemade, unprocessed foods with this DIY version of the classic on-the-go breakfast. Let each kid mix and match his or her favorite add-ins and press them into opposite ends of the pan.
Light Lemon Blueberry Donuts It’s a toss-up as to which step your munchkins will love best: shaking the little donuts in a bag with the lemon and sugar topping or eating them at the end.

Chicken-Veggie Quesadilla with Ranch Yogurt Sauce You can handle cooking the chicken and veggies on the stove, but little hands can help tenderize the meat (ie: pounding it with a mallet), sprinkle cheese atop the quesadilla and make the ranch sauce.
Peanut Butter-Banana Wrap For your littlest Ina Gartens, start simple with this satisfying wrap. Help kids spread the peanut butter and cut their bananas safely with a butter knife.
Grilled Cheese Pizza Sandwich Hook their interest with the name of this incredibly delicious sandwich, then work together assembling marinara, mozzarella and Parmesan between two slices of bread. Gooey, cheesy bonding!

Porcupine Meatballs Do your kids love getting dirty? They’ll relish the chance to mush meat in their hands as they shape them into little meatballs. Just make sure to wash their hands before you get started!
Grilled Vegetable Calzones Your little chef can be involved in every part of this recipe, from rolling out the pizza dough to packing the individual calzones with veggies and a dollop of cheese.
Spaghetti Squash Marinara Spaghetti squash is a great replacement for pasta, and making the squash into strands is almost as fun for adults as it is for kids. After allowing the squash to cool, arm your kid with a fork and let him or her go to town raking the pulp from the skin.

Spring Cupcakes with Citrus Icing Got a veggie-hater on your hands? Prove your kid wrong with these sweet and moist cupcakes. Let him or her take over the stirring duties for both the cake and icing portions.
Low-Carb Peanut Butter Cookies Your only job here is to supervise and pop these four-ingredient cookies in the oven at the end. Kids can mix and roll the dough into balls before using a fork to create the iconic peanut butter cookie criss-cross.
Oreo Cream Dessert Instead of using a blender or food processor, let the kids have some fun by tossing the cookies in a plastic bag and crushing them into Oreo crumbs.

What do you enjoy most about cooking with kids?